Late Tuesday night, news broke that the New York Yankees have signed shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to a one-year deal worth the league minimum, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.
“Tulo,” who hasn’t played in the big leagues since July of 2017, was released by the Toronto Blue Jays in a surprise move back in December. Tulowitzki was locked into two more years in Toronto, but the Blue Jays decided to move on early, eating over $30-million. He will make $20-million in 2019, with the Jays eating $19.45-million.
The 34-year-old shortstop idolized Yankee great Derek Jeter growing up, and once said that it would be a “perfect story” if he took over for #2. Instead, Tulowitzki is taking over Jeter’s replacement, Didi Gregorius, who will miss at least the first half of the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Tulowitzki’s fall from grace has been a sad sight. After making five All-Star teams while in Colorado, he was considered one of the best shortstops in the game. Even current Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, told Jeter that he’d rather have Tulowitzki back in 2010. He was one of the best in the business, but injury issues that limited him in Colorado followed him to Toronto. He missed the past year and a half with various injuries in his ankle.
Tulowitzki fits into a utility role of sorts with the Yankees. While he has never played a position other than short, many believe he could be shifted over to second or first and be productive. For the first half of the year, however, he is slotted as the Yankees, everyday shortstop. At a minimum deal, there is absolutely no risk involved from the Yankees standpoint, but if they can unlock a fraction of old-Tulo, the upside is tremendous.
Many have wondered how Tulo will affect the Yankees involvement in the Machado sweepstakes. Passan, as well as others, have reported that, no, it will not change the Yankees’ motivation. If the Yankees do sign Machado, odds are he will be the Opening Day third baseman, his natural position. Which brings up the question, what will they do with rookie standout Miguel Andujar? They could trade Miggy for pitching (something I have suggested for a while), or, they could attempt to teach the 23-year-old first base. While Andujar’s footing has been one of the many problems defensively, if they can find a way to get Machado, while keeping Andujar in the lineup, that makes the offense that much more dangerous.
The Tulowitzki move opens up so many different opportunities for the Yankees; I’m excited to see what Cash comes up with.